The Writeoff Association 926 members · 662 stories
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4951306

Nah. She could have used it with consent and only then realized Rainbow had forgotten about Starlight. Which would even explain why she decided to call Starlight in for their talk.

Trick Question
Group Contributor

4951164
Let's look at the first sentence in the entire story:

A golden streak shot out of the inky temple depths and into the light, its shadow racing across the weathered stonework as the streak resolved into a gray-maned pegasus, her wings beating frantically as she darted up and away into the clear, blue sky.

I may not know the details on why, but I know instinctively that you can't base a second subordinate clause off of an object in this manner and have it sound like proper English. "A streak shot, its shadow racing as it became a pegasus, her wings beating..." is not a valid sentence structure. That's a run-on sentence, and there's plenty more just like it.

Maybe "run-on" isn't the right word here, but it's certainly not far from correct.

Trick Question
Group Contributor

4951233

I can definitely see where you're coming from. I agree completely that memory erasure is horrible, possibly the greatest violation of one's self-agency short of murder, and possibly equivalent to murder under the theory that life is a continuity of experience -- breaking the continuity ends the life.

I'd erase a few minutes of somepony's memories to prevent spoiling a book for them, consent or not. I don't see the big deal. I wouldn't even have to agonize over the decision: I'd just go right ahead and do it.

Anyway, if your life ends when the continuity breaks, good luck getting to sleep tonight. :trollestia:

4951348 You're absolutely right; that is an incorrect sentence, and it is well highlighted by removing the prepositional phrases it's peppered with. You're also right that "run-on" might not be the right word.

Trick Question
Group Contributor

4951378
Just to be clear, I'm not pointing that out to be an ass to the author. I think the story is fine. I'm just providing as much detail as I can about what might make it better. :pinkiesmile: The degree of criticism I lob toward a work is not always a good measure of how much I enjoyed it.

Trick Question
Group Contributor

4951306
Why bother to get Dash's consent? You're erasing that memory too, silly. :facehoof:

4951387 Oh, I totally understand where you're coming from. I recently found out that an author I edit for thought I didn't like her story. It was actually one of my favourites on the site (I had forgotten to put it in my Favourites bookshelf); I criticize because I care. The worst thing someone can say about a story is nothing.

4951373
You disturb me and I want you to stay far away from me. My mind is the most precious thing I have, because it defines me. You have no right to mess with it.
Are you trying to make a logical argument? Substitute the first part with "shave someone's hair", "have sex with someone", or "kill someone" and it's just as valid. "I don't see the big deal".

Bachiavellian
Group Contributor

4951388
Because without consent, you're assuming that you know what's best for that person. You're completely removing their agency. There's a good chance that Dash would rather keep her spoiler-filled memories over having the insides her head toyed around with. No one's qualified to make these kinds of decisions for other people.

Anyways, the story plays it off humorously, so I get that we're not supposed to think about it seriously. But I find it downright strange that you seem to think that Twilight did nothing wrong.

horizon
Group Admin

If I ever go full supervillain and decide to destroy the Writeoffs, I'm going to write a story in which Twilight Sparkle and Starlight Glimmer wrestle with the ethical implications of memory manipulation, only to discover from the spell scroll that the memories in question are stored in "the left side of the brain", and the only way to disambiguate that is by placing a trans-temporal phone call to Star Swirl the Bearded, with whom they do not share a common language — until they get sidetracked on the spacing he used after writing a period.

Then I'll sit back and watch the thread condense into a black hole from which no commenter may escape. :trollestia:

FanOfMostEverything
Group Contributor

4951422
That would be quite the event, horizon.

Bugle
Group Contributor

4951373

Words cannot accurately express how terrifying I find you now.

Bugle
Group Contributor

4951437

You're a terrible person.

I wish I'd thought of it first.

Trick Question
Group Contributor

4951404

You disturb me and I want you to stay far away from me.

Thanks. I'm glad we can have a polite, civil discussion without ponies overreacting. :pinkiecrazy:

My mind is the most precious thing I have, because it defines me. You have no right to mess with it.

Then what do you think this conversation is? Talking is mental manipulation. We're trying to influence each other's minds. It isn't just a game with words and electricity played for no cause. The goal is to change other people's minds, even if that change is simply to convey and imbed an idea inside of their head.

Are you trying to make a logical argument? Substitute the first part with "shave someone's hair", "have sex with someone", or "kill someone" and it's just as valid. "I don't see the big deal".

You're making my exact point for me: it's a matter of degrees. In the story, Twilight removed just a few minutes of Dash's memory so she could enjoy her favorite book. As long as Twilight was spending that entire time with Dash, then no, I don't think it's a big deal. It's no more a big deal than if she'd chosen not to spend those few minutes with Dash in the first place which would have created those memories. Twilight is the architect of the very memories she removed. It was her choice to put those memories into her mind, wasn't it? :trixieshiftright:

4951421

Because without consent, you're assuming that you know what's best for that person.

Again, degrees. There are times when it is appropriate to make that assumption. It all depends upon the strength of the evidence, and the severity of the interference you're causing. Nothing we do is in a vacuum, and the sense of "agency" you're referring to is entirely illusionary, regardless.

Nowhere have I suggested that I should be able to make life-altering decisions for other ponies without any evidence that said decisions are best for them. Of course there are sensible limits. But I wouldn't feel bad about doctoring thirty seconds of time because I accidentally spoiled somepony's day, and a rational pony would be thankful I cared enough to do so for them. :twilightsmile:

Trick Question
Group Contributor

4951443
Well, at least read my followups.

Bad Horse
Group Contributor

4950386

As does having a dragon named "Dragon." With no further explanation as to why, this is just lazy.

I think it conveys that dragons are isolated, asocial creatures who don't talk to each other & don't need names.

4950909

There is a reason this kind of scenario is commonly referred to as a mind rape. I simply cannot believe that Twilight Sparkle, Princess of Friendship, would ever succumb to such a situation.

... so, you'd take 100 to 1 odds on it happening in season 6? :trixieshiftright:

4949573 4949583 So, that's a yes for both of you?

Hypothetically, if instead of erasing Rainbow's memories, Twilight had just used magic to go back in time five minutes and not mentioned the spoiler, would that be better or worse?

That could totally be a followup story where Twilight asks that question! :D

In all seriousness though, while I don't see the memory alteration as some high crime against Rainbow Dash's existence, I do feel Twilight would be wrong to do it without consent. Just not "same as murder" levels of wrong.

Trick Question
Group Contributor

4951456

So, that's a yes for both of you?

Given you already know my mindset, there probably isn't a way I can spin this that will actually end up with me properly assassinated, is there? :fluttershysad:

Could you at least erase my memories up to before the image? That way it's a win-win, and then I can start wondering why in Equestria Softy8088, Bachiavellian, and Bugle will no longer speak to me. :derpytongue2:

FDA_Approved
Group Contributor


Rainbow: "Hey, Twilight! I don't remember this one!"

I'm so very sorry.

Bachiavellian
Group Contributor

4951450
Free will may very well be an illusion, but it is an illusion that we must respect. Otherwise, there'd be no reason not to, say, ask for consent before sex. And, yes, this could be considered a matter of degree, but wouldn't it still be right to ask? After all, a parking valet will always ask you for your car keys, regardless of how sure he is that you want him to park your car for you. It's not only polite, but it's the only thing that'll save you both a lot of trouble in those one-in-a-thousand circumstances when the answer is "no."

Everyday
Group Contributor

4951422

You forgot to mention that both Star Swirl of the past and Twilight and Starlight in the present must employ the use of transparent glass.

Trick Question
Group Contributor

4951471
Yes. I agree that asking consent in a situation like mind manipulation is neigh-essential except in cases where for one reason or another it isn't possible, even if the person you're asking isn't capable of remembering the consent afterwards.

I'm exaggerating just a little to make a point. But there are times when you can't know. And none of what I'm saying validates rape as a behavior; that's the same logic that theists use to claim atheists are all psychopaths because they aren't bound by religious codes.

(Aside, it's been more than a decade since I had sex on a frequent basis, but I've never raped anypony nor been raped, and it's very rare in sexual situations that somepony explicitly says "may I have your permission to do this one thing now". That isn't how social interactions work in general, and pointing this out does not mean I am pro-rape.)

4951450
No, it's not the same thing "if she'd chosen not to spend those few minutes with Dash in the first place". We live our lives forward. One can't retroactively change an experience that has already occurred. If I give you a present, it becomes your property. I'm not allowed to break into your house tonight to take it back since I gave it to you anyway so it was by my choice that you had it in the first place.

And this is all a bit beside the point anyway. Continuity of experience does matter. I am a person who just read your post, and it's stirring up unpleasant emotions inside me. That is part of who I am now; the entire progression of my life led up to this moment, and this moment will lead to future states taht I'll call "me" in the future. If you were to erase the last few minutes of my memories, this person that I am now would be destroyed, not just in the natural sense of progressing to a different state, but of being erased completely from the line that is my life; it would change the person that I am in a wholly, categorically different way than simply living my life while being affected by things that occur.

This person that I am, although he is not feeling great, does not deserve to be erased so a "happier" person, flowing from a different continuity, can take his place. And sure as sugar you don't have any right to make that replacement. And I would see any attempt to do that as being equivalent to a threat to my life. Because effectively, that's what it is.

And I agree with Bugle. You frighten me. Speaking without hyperbole, you send chills down my spine.

4951481

And none of what I'm saying validates rape as a behavior

What if I sneak into your house at night (I won't steal or mess up anything), ensure you're drugged so you don't wake up for a couple of hours (don't worry, all my drugs are perfectly safe!) and have sex with you while you sleep (I'm STD-free and I'll wear a condom!). You'll wake up in the morning having never even known what happened.

I fail to see how your logic would say this is wrong. I basically haven't affected you at all. Okay, maybe i shifted you around in bed a little to get into position, but, hey, it's all a matter of degree, and there's hardly anything that changed, so I don't see the big deal.

If that explanation skeeves you out, it's a good indicator of how your reasoning is giving me the heebie-jeebies.

Everyday
Group Contributor

4951388

Rainbow Dash shook her head vigorously, trying to stop everything from spinning.
"Rainbow," a voice called out to her. "Are you okay?"
Her vision swam until Twilight came into focus.
"What... happened?"
"I erased your memory--just a few minutes!" she added quickly.
"What? Why?"
"I can't tell you, but here's the paper you signed saying it's okay."
Rainbow Dash squinted at the paper and read allowed:
"'I, Rainbow Dash, do hereby consent to having my memory erased by Twilight Sparkle for the sake of our friendship.'"
She tilted her head to match the trademark slant of her signature.
"Uh, okay, I guess..."

4951488

So.. have you ever had a surgery where they used a drug that caused anterograde amnesia? I'm kind of curious how you'd reconcile those two things.

Edit: To clarify I'm not asking this as a matter of consent, but because you seem to believe that a loss of continuity of experience is in some way equivalent to death.

Skywriter
Group Contributor

4951422
In order to calm things down a little, make sure you have Starswirl make some sort of authoritative statement about who would win in a fight, magical ponies or the U.S. Military. I've heard that that really stills the water and provides a nice, friendly atmosphere of discussion.

Skywriter
Group Contributor

4951437
*slow blink*
*scoots chair slightly away*

Bachiavellian
Group Contributor

4951481
If one of my buddies is blackout drunk, I'm still going to ask him if it's okay for me to walk his dog for him. Just because he doesn't remember giving consent, it doesn't mean his consent was worthless. His consent, regardless of his ability to recall it, is valuable information concerning how I ought to treat his dog.

When doing something like a memory spell, Twilight needs as much information as possible in order to make the correct decision. A very important piece of information is how Rainbow Dash herself feels about having her memory doctored. If Rainbow Dash fell into a spoiler-induced coma that only a memory-wipe would cure, I'd understand the need to proceed without consent. But otherwise, you honestly don't lose anything by asking.

Outside of absence or inability to communicate, and as long as someone is in command of their faculties, consent would be the first piece of information I'd seek before making a decision regarding anything that belongs to someone else.

Winston
Group Contributor

4951456 Maaaaaaybe. Depends. Should I check under my car before the next time I try to start it?

FanOfMostEverything
Group Contributor

4951552
An idea that bad deserved an equally terrible pun. My apologies for the collateral damage.

Everyday
Group Contributor

4951692

I still stand by what I asked before: do you put effort into being so clever or does it just come naturally?

Titanium Dragon
Group Contributor

4951093
4948931
While The Red Dress was nicely written, I was left at the end of it without understanding the underlying context of the situation. Are they supposed to be a couple? If so, why are they referred to as friends at the end? If not, then there are an awful lot of indications that it was an anniversary dinner, or that someone asked someone else out on an actual date on an otherwise ordinarily significant evening.

horizon
Group Admin

Five more reviews, then I think I'm going to give up on those (having hit the 30 mark) and power-read through the rest of the finalists so I can rank them all.

15. Things Deliberately Ignored - I'm not sure whether this wants to be a comedy or a drama, but right now it's not doing great at either. The character destruction breaks the tension of the drama and the frank discussion of the consequences of Twilight's actions dulls the edge of the comedy. Sorry, author. I did like the little bit about nepotism though. Needs Work

35. The Fool and the Food - This has a story arc, but doesn't feel like a complete story yet, mostly because it's not a satisfying story as is. Kevin-née-Talon is a jerk, and for his jerkiness is hoofed a bunch of unearned rewards. This is definitely implying a redemption arc for him, if Kevin's supposed to be the changeling from the E100 wedding, but this story is all prologue to that redemption. Cranky definitely carries this, and you've got a great start on a larger story here. Almost There

52. Companionate - Compare and contrast with "I Love You." They're both 750 words of shipping, but where that was an exploration of their physical relationship, this is 100% a Big Mac character piece. Instead of snuggles we get a tightly written drama with a lot of implied tension, asking us to root for the character's struggles instead of showing us an unearned payoff. I felt a little stab in my gut when Caramel came up. Straight to the top of my voting. Top Contender

57. Life, Love, and Lives Loved - Another scene that wants to be a story; it simply sort of peters out at the end, and the scene by itself feels more like a headcanon dump than an emotional portrait (though credit certainly for painting in some of that around the edges). This might feel more complete if you focused more strongly on the angle of Twilight being preternaturally concerned about the lifespan gap, and explored that in a little more depth, though it feels like an odd enough thought for a pony her age that I'm not sure I can buy it with its current level of lampshading. Bright spots: the headcanon and characterization are certainly solid, so you've got a great core here to make a story with. Needs Work

71. Still Waiting - Unfortunately, I can't give you a coherent reason why this one failed to grab me, but it landed in my "eh" category. I guess I just had a hard time caring about Prince Purple Rain because my mind primes the world's tiniest violin when superstars start regretting how they're merely famous instead of on top of the world. And Svengallop is basically a cartoon villain in his episode, so not a whole lot of empathy from me when he gets his comeuppance. Without that emotional connection, this … just is. The characterization is pretty good for the OC; the prose is clean; the ending is weak. Middle of the pack. Almost There

Bad Horse
Group Contributor

4950386

38. Charility

You may be thinking of Cheerility, the one where Twilight casts a spell that accidentally makes everyone in Ponyville left-hooved, and the school has only right-hooved scissors. Or Berrylity, the one where Twilight casts a spell that accidentally reverses the chirality of all the molecules inon Ponyville's food and drink. Alcohol is non-chiral, so the only remaining digestible food in town is Berry Punch's private stash.

The Spare: I've seen several comments like this. I'll pick on 4951093 because the Write-Off bylaws say it's okay to pick on horizon or CiG.

I just wish it didn't feel so lopsided, with the first scene relaxed (and perhaps a little too long-winded on establishing Blueblood as a jerk) and the last scene crammed into <100 words.

I think the solution isn't to expand the second scene, but to cut it entirely. Celestia's discussion of a backup plan should make it clear to the reader that that's what Sunset Shimmer is. Don't deflate that by actually writing the scene in which Sunset finds that out. That would be like showing us the monster in Blair Witch Project.

My Finals Reviews!
Faith
A cool story with some cool world building. However, given the implications that godhood is gained through belief, I think it’s weird that Celestia and Luna disappeared so quickly when, given the setup, Twilight had only been speaking to a single auditorium. Shrinking maybe, but completely vanishing seems like a stretch (makes for a more dramatic ending though). Loved it

Explainer Horse
Twilight’s stumbled into some blue joke and unfortunately can’t give the lecture she planned. A fun look at an underused element in the mlp world, and a cool use of prompt. I thought it was pretty clever. Liked it

Love needs no Words
Not exactly sure what Luna’s goal is here, and I’m also curious why the ponies are disgusted by her if its stated in the beginning that two alicorns in flight is pure beauty to behold. They see her flying nightly so why would they be disgusted? Yeah that’s the canon but it doesn’t fit with the story here. Beyond that the writing itself is beautiful and I loved reading it. Liked it

Cold Case
The cake, gone. The clues, few. The case, cold. But that’s never stopped this pink sleuth before, and it won’t stop her now. I’m a sucker for that noir parody voice, and the spa scene had me in ribs. I felt the language could have been tighter at points to better capture that concise noir sound. Besides that, I thoroughly enjoyed it! Liked it

More Precious than Silver and Gold
Being a dragon isn’t always easy. Those caves full of coin don’t just make themselves. Years can go by before you have a proper bed of gold and silver, and only the big names will ever be remembered by history. The treasure hunt is a daily struggle, but sometimes, you find something a little more precious. I honestly like the idea of dragon trying to make their fortune (which this story isn’t even about) a bit more than I did this. It could be a great scene in a fuller story about dragons and wealth and greed, but on its own, it didn’t do much for me. Points for writing about dragons though! I often forget they’re even really in this world. Needs more

Curses
Good villains are hard to come by, so when Daring Do’s arch-nemesis threatens to leave the game, she’ll do anything she can just to get him back. The initial prose didn’t dazzle, I found some of the language strange. The “inky temple” and this entire passage threw me one: “Long seconds passed before the stillness was broken, when a blue-furred hand poked up between two of the fallen stone slabs. It quested around for a few seconds, before, finding nothing, all but the central finger folded back into a fist. Thus configured, the hand waved around at the sky for a bit, before retreating back underground.” Soon as the conflict began though I was hooked. I liked the joke. Though, not sure I would agree that this fits the prompt since by the end the words aren’t left unsaid. Liked it

That Secrete Fire
Sugarcoat has no problem speaking her mind, even if that means divulging the truth behind her less than stable family life, but even she has a secret or two. An utterly nonsensical story about a nonsensical character. Not a fan of most Equestria Girl fics, but this was pretty great. A zany idea with excellent execution. Loved it

Consistency
When Discord pays Tirek a visit down in Tartarus, the captured villain attempts to gain Discord’s aid, but finds his old partner has other plans in mind. Woooh, chills. I don’t have the words, so I’ll stick to the two that come to mind. Loved it

Still Waiting
Chasing dreams is never easy, Purple Rain and Svengallop learned that the hard way. I love this idea but it really wasn’t allowed to grow in the space allotted here. I’d love to see this expanded with more time to explore how the industry changed Purple Rain and Svengallop’s relationship and slowly wore down their idealism. Awesome start, but on its own, not a hit for me. Needs More

CoffeeMinion
Group Admin

Well folks, this is gonna be my last round of reviews. Props to 4950896 (Everyday) for the reminder about review formats; I shall have to adopt that next time around.

Faith

This was haunting, if a bit too short and rushed to maximize the effect. I don't know if anyone else has pointed it out (because I try to avoid reviews for stories I haven't read yet), but this seems like a callback to a scene from Planescape: Torment where the Nameless One argues that some dude doesn't actually exist, and he succeeds at persuading the audience to believe him, and then the dude just disappears.

But again, the story is just too short for the quantity of world-building concepts that it's trying to persuade us to believe. And like the princesses themselves, it swiftly fades away… (sorry, I couldn't resist)

Things That Have Been Unsaid

While I just said I try to avoid reviews of stuff I haven't read, it's been impossible not to pick up on the reaction inspired by this one’s memory manipulation spell.

I want to make it clear that I didn’t write this, I have nothing specific to gain by defending it, and I’m not sure if what I’m writing here even constitutes a defense. However, I just don’t feel the same level of outrage that I’m seeing from others. As such, I didn’t find the story (or its subject matter) an immediate, hard turn-off… and it ended up working for me to a sufficient degree that I could enjoy it.

Maybe part of the reason this worked for me was that the story was kind enough to name-drop the Want It Need It episode within the first few paragraphs. This set the stage for the story’s exploration of Twilight screwing up (with a hilarious call-out to The Force Awakens), then compounding her initial screwup with a much worse screwup (i.e.: the spell). And the way that Starlight talked through her own historical experience with mind-control techniques was funny, in the sense of being horrible-funny.

I dunno. Is this brilliant? Kind of not; there just isn't enough going on in the story for me to place it higher than the middle of my finals slate. But is this as terrible as some have made it out to be? Again, I just can’t see it.

Flapjacks

Interesting, simple, and well-written; this sets its sights on something perhaps less ambitious than certain other pieces, but it succeeds, and it feels very complete and fairly polished.

This is current hovering just outside of my top 5, and I’m darned if I know exactly where to rank it against a few others in that tier.

That Secret Fire

OMG THAT LINE!!!

I burst out laughing. I might’ve even peed a little.

I’m going to rank this higher than I can probably justify based solely on structure/character development/etc., and I'm going to rationalize my decision based on the brilliant juxtaposition of Sugarcoat’s deadpan openness about an actual weighty secret, and her extreme aversion to talking about… the other thing.

Motherhood

I don’t know what to make of this from a plot perspective. It tries to cover a lot of ground, and it’s presented reasonably well for the most part, but it’s just too short to seem like anything more than a trailer for a longer work. The ending in particular is just too abrupt.

But if this was a trailer, I think I’d be interested in seeing the thing it was a trailer for.

Actually, in a weird way, this kind of felt like a scene from a Discworld novel. It featured Celestia doing a reasonably good job playing Lord Vetinari, and Cadance managing to hold her own as a stand-in for Sam Vimes. Now THAT’S a crossover-type-thing I could get into...

>mind rape fic is submitted

If you like the fic, you can defend it two ways:

A: it's a comedy
B: Who cares if it's mind rape? Why would anyone care about getting their memory erased? It's not like they'd remember it would happen!

If you go with B, you're skeevy as fuck and probably a sociopath.

Bad Horse
Group Contributor

4950999

Nitpick: it's "Cadance". I know that's misspelled from the word her name is based on, but, well, it's how best princess's name is officially spelled, I'm afraid.

See the MLP Wikia entry on "Cadence or Cadance?"

A photo from Megan McCarthy showed that the script said Cadence:

"Cadance" originated with the same idiots in the toy division who gave us pink Celestia.

Bad Horse
Group Contributor

4951388 Why bother to get Dash's consent? You're erasing that memory too, silly. :facehoof:

Exactly. That would be as silly as getting consent from somebody before killing them. They won't blame you for it later anyway, so what's the point?

4951781

"B: Who cares if it's mind rape? Why would anyone care about getting their memory erased? It's not like they'd remember it would happen!

If you go with B, you're skeevy as fuck and probably a sociopath."

This is a really nasty strawman of a point me and several others have made. If you think it's a bad thing, then that's fine, it's your opinion, but to just assume that anyone who has a different philosophical position on the importance of memories than you is a sociopath is taking that way too far.

Everyday
Group Contributor

On the topic of involuntary short-term memory-erasing:

Bad Horse
Group Contributor

4951674

Maaaaaaybe. Depends. Should I check under my car before the next time I try to start it?

I'd rather you didn't.

CoffeeMinion
Group Admin

4951820 Related: Which was the worse tragedy?

1) At the end of MiB 1, they took Tommy Lee Jones' whole life away! :raritycry:

2) There were sequels. :trollestia:

Titanium Dragon
Group Contributor

More Precious than Silver or Gold

Genre: Slice of Life

A dragon decides not to loot the abbey containing the infant Princess Cadance after getting a claw kissed by the young alicorn.

This was nicely written, but it felt a little bit hollow to me. The action didn’t really resound with me emotionally, and I was left at the end wondering why this was a thing.


That Secret Fire

Genre: Romance?, Equestria Girls, Comedy?

This was bizarre and I’m really not quite sure what to make of it. I… really was just left confused by this piece. I guess it was supposed to be funny, but it just never really all came together for me humor-wise.


Swallow Down

Genre: Sad, Slice of Life

Golden Harvest helps Applejack take in the harvest.

Applejack muses about why Golden Harvest wasn’t the Element of Honesty, given that Golden Harvest always used to keep her in line.

Golden Harvest lies about why the element chose Applejack, to hide her crush on Applejack.

I liked this. It had a nice balance of charm and wistfulness.

If I had a complaint, it would be that I think we’ve heard Golden Harvest speak in the show, and I seem to recall that she didn’t have an Applejack-like accent.


Love Needs No Words

Genre: Drama

Luna and Celestia fly around the countryside. Luna wants to express her love, but can’t.

Again, I am left feeling a bit bereft of feeling. What is this trying to say, exactly?


In the Leaves

Genre: Romance?, Drama

The nameless protagonist comforts her dying friend – who she loves – and stays with her through her illness and death.

This was a sweet piece, and the repetition at the end of each parts worked well enough. That being said, the final line didn’t feel as strong as the rest of them, and I don’t get why “in the leaves” is particularly significant; while I am aware of soothsaying from tea leaves, that didn’t really seem to be very contextually relevant here.


The Longest Night

Genre: Drama

Twilight remembers all the ponies who died offscreen during the various battles against villains she fought.

This was okay, but frankly, I’ve seen too many heroes going down lists of casualties from their heroic deeds for it to really impact me the way it once did, and while this is well-written, it didn’t quite tug on my heartstrings. Still, it was decent enough for what it was, and I think it touched all the right notes.


Curses

Genre: Comedy

Daring Do thwarts Ahuizotl once again. But there is no “Curse you, Daring Do!” this time. What’s the point?

Daring Do tries to cheer him up.

This was silly and it definitely amused me, but now I’m having dark, terrible thoughts about Ahuizotl having died in Daring Don’t and now Daring Do’s books all suck as she has to make do with second-rate villains or just wins too easily without her archnemesis, driving her to Ponyville to complain.

I have terrible ideas at times.

Anyway, this story certainly amused me.


The Red Dress

Genre: Drama, Romance?

I’m rather confused here, to be honest. The story seems to make them out as having been on a date, and there are all the signs there… but at the end, it refers to Octavia as being Vinyl’s friend, which seems weird, given that it seemed like it was an anniversary dinner gone wrong, after Vinyl Scratch spilled wine on Octavia’s dress.

Or did they ordinarily go out to dinner on this day for some other reason, and the flowers were because Vinyl or Octavia was actually making a move on the other this year?

I’m confused, and that’s not the best place for me to be left at the end.


Consistency

Genre: Dark

Discord comes to speak to Tirek one last time on behalf of the Princesses. Tirek feels nothing but scorn for how far Discord has fallen – how consistent he has become. But as Discord points out, even chaos is consistent in its inconsistency. It is Tirek himself who is the outlier.

And it is time something was done about that.

I liked this. It was a complete story (in the context of the show), and the end of it had a wonderful sense of finality to it. I liked the sinister, conniving conversation. My only real question is, why did they wait so long?


Yours Truly, Cheerilee

Genre: Romance

Cheerilee tries to live up to her name and find a cute stallion on blind dates.

She fails.

Repeatedly.

But Big Mac is always there to give her a helping hoof afterwards.

If they end up developing this MarbleMac thing, all the CheeriMac shippers are going to be terribly disappointed :V

Anyway, this was decent enough, and did what it was trying to do, but wasn’t exactly aiming for the stars.


The Fool and the Food

Genre: Adventure?

The backstory of Cranky’s changeling friend at the wedding.

This was mildly amusing. I wasn’t expecting Cranky to show up here, and overall it worked well enough. Everyone loves changelings, and this overall was a compact little tale that did what it was trying to do – give us some reason to believe that this changeling would show up at Cranky’s wedding as a friend.


Orchard Mornings

Genre: Slice of Life

Big Mac takes care of Apple Bloom.

The implication that the only pony that Big Mac could bring himself to talk to after his parents’ deaths being his baby sister who couldn’t even talk back was a cute if slightly cheesy touch, but we use cheese because it works sometimes, and here, it ended up kind of sweet. I liked this on the whole, but it didn’t exactly aim for the stars. Still, it did make me feel a little warm.


Things Deliberately Ignored

Genre: Comedy

Twilight Sparkle destroys Ponyville.

Twilight didn’t feel particularly in character here, and frankly, Rainbow Dash leading her through it rather than just outright saying what she did wrong doesn’t really seem like Rainbow Dash’s style. This was silly, but… I didn’t really end up laughing at it.


Still Waiting

Genre: Slice of Life, Sad

Purple Rain, the unicorn who does Countess Coloratura’s voice work, was once going to be a star. But he never really ended up amounting to much, even as his agent, Sven Gallop, worked to make use of him, pairing him up with other ponies as a supplement to their acts, while Purple Rain never made it big.

It seems like the end of the line for him, but perhaps not as much as it is for another pony…

This was a melancholic piece, and it worked well enough. We get Purple Rain’s tired feeling, as well as his recognition that he was somewhat taken advantage of… but also his recognition that he never quite made it himself, and he is really not willing to make the effort to actually try something different.


Explainer Horse

Genre: Meta (XKCD), Comedy

Twilight Sparkle writes using simple words.

This is a reference to XKCD’s Thing Explainer, wherein simple words are used to explain complicated things. I assume they used the tool provided by XKCD to proof this thing. It makes for very awkward writing, but it is possible to understand what it is that is being said.

That being said, while this is in principle amusing, in practice, I’d already seen this joke via XKCD, and it doesn’t really do anything else with it.


Faith

Genre: Drama

Equestria works on the principles of Mage: the Awakening, where faith is what makes the world function in a certain manner, and gives people power. Twilight accidentally happens upon this fact and unmakes Luna and Celestia.

Seeing as I’ve seen this idea before, and the idea was pretty much all there was here, I’m not sure what there is to say about this. Gods Need Prayer Badly is a decent worldbuilding trope, but here, all you have is the story idea, without really going beyond it or doing anything terribly interesting with it.


Hopefully all of these are coherent; I'm quite tired at the moment, but unable to sleep, so I figured I'd try and go through the rest of the finalists.

Titanium Dragon
Group Contributor

4951785
Clearly, we should go with the name submitted to the US trademark office.

For reference, they've been consistently using "Princess Cadance" since the end of season 3 in the show's credits. So I think it is safe to say that is the official spelling now, regardless of any early confusion.

Titanium Dragon
Group Contributor

4951456
But we've seen dragons in the show other than Spike, and they had names.

Titanium Dragon
Group Contributor

4951233
I agree that the story played it for comedy, and it was amusing rather than disturbing.

You can make jokes about anything, even disturbing things. I have pages and pages of jokes about the Holocaust. They're great. And then there's stuff like tribute.wmv...

Xepher
Group Contributor

4951422 [???? Like]

EDIT: Apparently you can't abuse unicode on the discussion thread like you can on the writeoff website. So my attempt at horizon-ing a horizon joke falls flat.

Bugle
Group Contributor

4951422

Full supervillain? You mean you're at least partial supervillain now?

Oh dear.

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